Maintaining Your Status
While studying in the
United States, it is important to maintain your F1 student status. Your visa
says that you are coming to the United States to study. You should not consider
any action that detracts from that purpose.
Enter the United States no more than 30 days before your program of study begins.
Immediately contact designated school official (DSO) at Santa Ana College when you enter the United States. When you arrive at school, you need to contact your DSO again, no later than the program start date listed on your I-20.
Attend and pass all your classes. International students must maintain a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 2.0 or the letter grade of C in coursework. If school is too difficult, speak with your DSO immediately.
If you believe that you will be unable to complete your program by the end date listed on your I-20, talk with your DSO about requesting a possible program extension.
You must take a full course (12 units) of study each semester; if you cannot study full-time, contact your DSO immediately.
Do not drop a class without speaking first with your DSO.
Upon Program Completion
Take action to maintain legal status after completing your program of study.
Once you complete your program of study and any authorized period of practical training, you may wish to learn about doing one of the following:
Transfer to another school
Change your education level (e.g. bachelor’s to master’s)
Apply to change status to another visa status (e.g. H-1B-temporary worker; O-extraordinary ability in science, art or business; P-athlete)
You have 60 days after completion of your program (the program end date on your Form I-20) to leave the United States.
Talk with your DSO first
Your DSO should be the first person you talk with if you have any questions regarding the legal requirements of your stay in the United States.
Your DSO can assist in answering your questions or help you find someone who can help.
Talk with your DSO if you are planning to do any of the following:
Change your major, program, or degree level
Change your education level
Transfer to a new school or take a leave of absence
Take a break from school
Travel outside the United States
Move to a new address
Request a program extension
Working in the United State
The U.S. government takes working
illegally very seriously. Do not work without authorization. An F1 student may
work only when authorized.
If you want to work in
the United States, talk with your DSO about your options. If you decide to
work, the first step is always to talk with your designated school official
(DSO).Your DSO may authorize certain work; other employment may require your
DSO’s recommendation and authorization from.
If you choose to work
without authorization, you will be forced to leave the United States
immediately. You may not be able to re-enter the United States at a later date.
If your DSO knows you are working without permission, your DSO must report it
through SEVIS and your record can be terminated. That means that you will have
to leave the United States immediately, and you may not be allowed to return.
There are many opportunities to work and getting permission is easy.
As an F-1 student in
Active status, you immediately have an option for one kind of work: on-campus
employment. However, there are some things to keep in mind.
Although you may work
shortly after you arrive, you must be in Active status and your DSO must
approve your request. After your DSO approves your request, you’ll be given a
letter of approval. This letter, along with a letter from your employer, will
help you get a Social Security number. When school is in session, you may
only work 20 hours per week.
You may not begin work
until you have received your EAD. Just as with on-campus work, while school is
in session you are restricted to a 20 hour work week.
As an F-1 student, you can receive work authorization for training
related to your studies: optional practical training (OPT). Most of the time,
you must have been enrolled in Santa Ana College as an F-1 student for one full
academic year to be eligible for either type of practical training.
OPT must relate to
your major or course of study, and although you can apply for 12 months of OPT
at each education level, you must have your EAD card before you begin working.
For more information,
contact our Immigration Specialist at the International Student Center, at
(714) 564-6047 or by e-mail: email@example.com